First Impressions of the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro

The new Pantech Matrix Pro is a chunky and solidly built little smartphone, offered exclusively by AT&T. Measuring 4.17″ tall x 2.0″ wide x 0.85″ thick and weighing 5.34 ounces, it might be easy to dismiss this little beast as too thick and too heavy. But just like a story with a surprise twist at the end, there is more to this quad-band Windows Mobile Standard 6.1 device than first assumed.

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As the box shows, there are two keyboards hiding under the 2.4″ 240 x 320 display: a full QWERTY and a 12-key alphanumeric.

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Included in the box are the Pantech Matrix Pro, a protective sleeve, an AC adapter, a 3.5mm adapter (because there is no headphone jack on the device), a Getting Started Guide, a USB data cable, and a software CD.

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AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro Technical Specifications

Operating system: Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
Internal Memory: 256MB
Expandable Memory: Supports up to 32GB microSD™ card
Display: 2.4″ 260K TFT (240×320 pixels)
Camera: 2.0 megapixels with digital 4x zoom
Connectivity: GPRS/EDGE quad-band, UMTS/HSDPA tri-band (850/1900/2100MHz), Bluetooth 2.0 and EDR, USB 2.0 HS
Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, RealAudio®
Video: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264, RealMedia, Windows Media,® 15 fps QCIF, MobiTV, Cellular Video, Video Sharing
Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion: 1320 mAh; Talk time: Up to 6 hours; Standby time: Up to 12 days

The face of the Matrix Pro is neatly done; at the top is the ear speaker with a the 2.4″ screen appearing to share the same solid strip of plastic. At the bottom is a very functional button cluster containing two soft keys, home button, back button, call and hangup buttons, and a four-way D-pad with center select that desperately looks like it wants to be a touch wheel when it grows up; alas, it does not have that functionality.

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On the left side of the device, there are volume up and volume down buttons, as well as a dedicated voice recorder button.

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On the bottom, a plastic door covers the microSD slot. Worth noting is that this phone can handle up to a 32GB microSD card; are those even available yet? Whether they are or not: I want.

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On the right side, there is a camera button as well as a plastic door for the proprietary (boo! hiss!) sync & charge cable. This is also the slot that must be used with adapter should you want to use a wired headset or earphones with the phone.

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While I am here, allow me to take a moment to complain about this tricky little doorway of doom…

If it weren’t absolutely necessary that you be able to access the contents behind the cover basically every day, then it wouldn’t be a big deal that it is so difficult to get the door to open. I have found that it responds best to a fingernail wedged into the slot and a quick downward flip. In all honesty, I will likely remove this door because it is completely obnoxious and every time I use it I think I am going to break a nail. With that said, it does make the device look streamlined and finished, not having a gaping hole on the upper right; decisions, decisions…

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The top of the device is kept clean.

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The camera is 2 megapixel with a 4x zoom. The camera button is placed so that when the Matrix Pro is held sideways – as one would naturally hold it when about to take a landscape oriented photo – the pointer finger will naturally land on the camera clicker, but the thumb will inevitably land on the voice recorder button every time. 😛

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The battery is 1320 mAh, which seems like a healthy sum. I’ll let you know how it performs after I have used the phone for a bit longer.

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The rails holding the QWERTY keyboard are nice and snappy, and overall the mechanisms feel tight. The keyboard’s buttons are sized and spaced nicely for my fingers, and they offer satisfactory tactile feedback when pressed.

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The alphanumeric keyboard is similar to the one on the Nokia N85; they are not individual buttons so much as a pressure sensitive touch panel, for lack of a better description. I like having the option of using either keyboard, and I usually find Windows Mobile Standard to be a rock solid operating system; I expect that will be the case here, as well. I am sure that there are those who will lament this not being a touchscreen device, but I rather like that it is not.

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The Pantech Matrix Pro is available from AT&T.

MSRP: $379.99 without contract, $179.99 with 2 year contract and rebate

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-confessed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area ... or not.

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